People Are Not Props // How to Avoid Tokenism in Your Portfolio

People Are Not Props // How to Avoid Tokenism in Your Portfolio

How to diversify portfolios is a topic that comes up frequently in photography groups on Facebook. It generally looks something like this: “I want to start photographing gay weddings but don’t have any gay clients… what do I do?” or “I need make my portfolio less white/straight… should I do a model call?” A few of those conversations have resulted in white people getting called out for tokenizing members of marginalized communities and, frequently, those who were called out responded with mild (or not so mild) outrage and wondered how to get away from their straight white client base if they can’t do model calls for LGBTQ2S+ folks or POC to expand their portfolios.

There is very limited information regarding tokenism as it pertains to fine arts generally and photography portfolio building specifically. This article is an attempt to compile the information I did find and present it in a way that is applicable to the photography industry. It might seem straightforward and obvious to some, but I think it is needed

 

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Photo Session

Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Photo Session

As a high school senior photographer for guys in Houston and mom to a handsome little guy, it is my goal to encourage and support young men near and far through my imagery. As the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I have the same dream that my children and the young people that I photograph can live out their days judged by their character and not by the color of their skin.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Houston Photographer Tomayia Colvin

Woke Wednesday // Meet Houston Photographer Tomayia Colvin

Tomayia Colvin, a portrait photographer and educator in Houston, is a well-known leader and activist in our community. She is a children's book author, a doctoral student in the field of educational leadership, and she works with conferences to connect them with talented and diverse speakers and educators.

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